Having a strong safety culture within your business is key to the success of your health and safety policy and procedures. Staff need to be kept informed and encouraged to take an active stance in ensuring that health and safety in the workplace is taken seriously.
It’s one thing to have a health and safety strategy, but it's quite another to ensure that it’s more than just a ‘box ticked’. It should be something that employees are aware of and are keen to promote; staff must be encouraged to take action when it comes to safety issues, not just stand by in the hope someone else will step up.
To achieve a strong safety culture, your workplace should promote positive outlooks, relationships and outcomes. Staff should feel that they can report any concerns, issues, incidents or near misses without the fear that these could be negatively received. They should also be confident that they can access health and safety training should they need or want it.
The ultimate aim of having a comprehensive workplace health and safety strategy is for all staff to be well-informed about it, know what they should do if an incident arises, and that the number of incidents, accidents and near misses decreases / remains low.
Top 7 tips for creating a strong safety culture
1. Identify priorities
Once you’ve decided to create a health and safety strategy, or update an existing one, you should identify the risk management priorities. What’s already in place and what’s inefficient? Is there anything missing that should be included? You could do this by undertaking an internal audit or by bringing in an external company to undertake this for you. Once this information has been gathered and improvements identified, the changes should be implemented and communicated to staff.
2. Assign a health and safety lead
Whatever size your business is, there should be someone who is ultimately responsible for health and safety. For very small companies it may be the director or manager and for medium and large companies there should be a dedicated health and safety professional or team in place. In addition to this, you may have others who wish to receive training in some areas of health and safety so they can assist in situations, such as first aid or mental health, or in specific areas if that is their specialty, such as working at heights or manual handling for example.
3. Induct new staff correctly
All new employees should receive a health and safety induction when they join the company. This will ensure they’re well-informed right from the start and demonstrates a positive attitude to health and safety within the business. It is also more likely that staff will feel comfortable with the policies and procedures in place and confident to report and feed back if they need to.
4. Easy to follow processes
For both new and existing staff, it’s important that there are clear processes in place that they should follow should any health and safety issues arise or accidents or near misses occur. These processes should be communicated well and easy to access at any time such as on a staff intranet so that employees can refer to them quickly and whenever they need to. Making processes and procedures overly complicated will put staff off using and following them, so keep them as simple as possible. Consider a regular or annual health and safety update meeting to reinforce this to staff.
5. Staff engagement
Ensuring that staff engage with the company’s health and safety policies and procedures is imperative to their success. Engagement is two-way, so the more you can do as an employer to engage with your staff, the better! Start by letting them know what you expect from them and how they can do their bit.
If they understand the importance of health and safety in the workplace and that it is something you prioritise as a business, they are more likely to engage. As developments occur and things change, report back to them to keep them in the loop. Ensure they know that your health and safety policy is an evolving, active thing, not just a dusty document so to speak!
6. Fluid strategy
Once your health and safety strategy is in place, keep in mind that’s not the end of it. Keep it fluid, change things if they’re not working, update it and constantly monitor it to ensure it’s the best it can be. Listen to others, take on ideas and incorporate them if you find that another approach could work better.
The most important thing to remember is to communicate! Communicate regularly with your staff; this will not only encourage engagement, but it’ll increase their knowledge and understanding about the policies themselves and how they can help maintain a strong safety culture. Praise them for getting involved, update them when changes are made and inform them of industry and policy updates. Holding a regular safety meeting will keep the topic in focus and ensuring staff are involved can only be a good thing.
Health and safety training at PETA
We offer over 30 courses in all areas of health and safety training, so we’re sure to have something to suit your requirements. From first aid courses to mental health awareness, manual handling to fire warden training, check out our full range to see if we offer the training you’re after.
We also offer the full suite of IOSH and NEBOSH courses for those looking for more in-depth training:
Our experienced health and safety team can offer a range of practical support services to suit your business. Whether you need to resolve a short-term issue or develop a long-term strategy, our bespoke training and advice can help. These include:
Safety Health Check
Incident and Accident Investigation
Get in touch with our health and safety experts, who are ready and waiting to help.
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